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5 Places You Can’t Miss For Carbonara in Rome

Rome’s most popular pasta dish, carbonara is known the world over. Take note though, the traditional Roman version does not have cream, and most definitely no peas, mushrooms, or anything resembling a vegetable. The classic recipe calls for eggs, guanciale (cured pork jowl), and pecorino Romano cheese.

 

The origins of this dish are unclear but it’s said to come from the carbonari, or ‘charcoal burners’ who worked outside the city and needed sustenance from the simple supplies they had with them. That, or it was invented during World War II as American soldiers utilized the eggs and bacon of their rations.

 

Whatever the story, nothing starts a debate among Romans quite like food and carbonara is no exception. Everyone has their favorite spots to enjoy it – here are some of ours.

 

© Santo Palato

 

Santo Palato

 

Chef Sarah Cicolini hails from the neighboring Abruzzo region but has made a name for herself in the capital for her traditional trattoria dishes. She serves up typical Roman dishes like amatriciana and trippa alla romana (tripe in a tomato sauce), as well as the occasional reinvention – she turns oxtail-stew into meatballs, paired with a peanut and lovage sauce, and a light dusting of cocoa. Delicious. Her egg-yolk-rich carbonara is a menu staple but check out the specials handwritten on a chalkboard for seasonal plates.

 

Book Santo Palato online.

 

 

© Trattoria Pennestri

 

Trattoria Pennestri

 

Located in Rome’s historically working class and now gentrifying Ostiense neighborhood, Pennestri is a warm and welcoming contemporary trattoria. Expect wholesome but elegant fare executed perfectly. Offal, a local specialty, is often on the menu and this is a great place to try out it and discover how appetizing it can be. If you’re here for the carbonara, know that newspaper La Repubblica said Pennestri’s was one of the best in Rome and noted the quality of the pasta used.

 

Book Trattoria Pennestri by calling +39 065742418.

 

 

 

Piatto Romano

 

Located in foodie-favorite Testaccio, Piatto Romano’s carbonara manages to be rich and luxurious without being heavy. This neighborhood joint serves up famous dishes, including amatriciana and cacio e pepe, but it also showcases somewhat lesser known (to most foreign visitors, at least) recipes and ingredients from the local culinary canon. Yes, there’s the offal for which this neighborhood is known, but there’s also a host of interesting vegetable options. We love the wild greens salad, a mixture of different greenery and leaves that grow in these parts, abundantly dressed with olive oil and ground sumac. Oh, and if you see carciofini on the menu, be sure to order these little fried artichokes.  

 

Reserve a table at Piatto Romano online.

 

 

© Roscioli

 

Salumeria Roscioli

 

Wine bar, deli, and restaurant in one, Salumeria Roscioli offers a relaxed but elegant dining experience. Their entire menu is, frankly, wonderful and diners should be sure to taste the cheese and cured meats but it’s the carbonara that’s truly famed. Ingredients reign supreme at Roscioli, who select eggs from hens that are fed a diet of cereal and goat’s milk, and three different types of peppercorn for their silky carbonara.

 

 

© Andrea di Lorenzo/Luciano

 

Luciano

 

Luciano Monosilio opened his eponymous and stylish restaurant near Campo de’ Fiori in 2018, having already earned a Michelin star during his time in the fine dining world. Dubbed the carbonara king by food critics, his eye for precision led to him building what he calls an ‘artisan pasta factory’ inside the restaurant to produce all the fresh and dried pasta needed for his diners. His glowing yellow carbonara sees it paired with guanciale sourced from an artisan producer in the Italian region Le Marche and an egg and pecorino sauce that is warmed in a bain-marie.   

 

Book a table at Luciano here.

 

 

 

 

Looking for more food in Rome? Check out these restaurants near the Colosseum

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